Wolfgang Tillmans: 2017 opens at London's Tate Modern

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“He’s not a prophet, but he sees where things might go because he has an eye for the world,” said Chris Dercon, director of the Volksbuhne Berlin and co-curator of Tate Modern’s Wolfgang Tillmans: 2017 show at its press view this morning. A huge 14-room exhibition it bears out Dercon’s words with installations such as the ironically titled truth study centre, a collection of newspaper and magazine clippings, objects, drawings and images, that reflect on media representation of facts and our propensity to believe what we want despite them; also on show are Tillmans’ pro-Remain posters from the recent British referendum on EU membership.
A close-up shot of a car headlight shot in 2012 is accompanied by the thought (in the exhibition booklet) that headlights are more angular now, “giving them a predatory appearance that might reflect a more competitive climate”; shots taken in nightclubs are interpreted in terms of the freedom might experience in such places. Other images show apples, celebrities, static interference; a specially-designed room, The Playback Room, is devoted to sharing recorded music on state-of-the-art equipment. The subject matter varies but it adds up to a singular, and maybe prophetic, vision.

Installation shot of room 4, which includes the latest iteration of the truth study centre project. Image © Tate Modern showing Wolfgang Tillmans: 2017 at Tate Modern 15 February - 11 June
Installation shot of room 4, which includes the latest iteration of the truth study centre project. Image © Tate Modern showing Wolfgang Tillmans: 2017 at Tate Modern 15 February – 11 June
Installation shot of room 13, which focuses in on Tillmans' portraiture. Image © Tate Modern showing Wolfgang Tillmans: 2017 at Tate Modern 15 February - 11 June
Installation shot of room 13, which focuses in on Tillmans’ portraiture. Image © Tate Modern showing Wolfgang Tillmans: 2017 at Tate Modern 15 February – 11 June
In March Tillmans will take over Tate Modern’s south Tank for ten days, with a series of live music events including an afternoon devoted to “The 48 tracks that make up It’s A Sin by Pet Shop Boys”. The exhibition includes a series of Playback Room Sessions, in which artists such as Jeremy Deller and Adam Buxton have been invited to share and discuss music that’s inspired them.
Wolfgang Tillmans: 2017 is on show at Tate Modern from 15 February – 11 June; entry costs £12.50. www.tate.org.uk
Shit buildings going up left, right and centre 2014 © Wolfgang Tillmans. On show at Wolfgang Tillmans: 2017 at Tate Modern 15 February - 11 June
Shit buildings going up left, right and centre 2014 © Wolfgang Tillmans. On show at Wolfgang Tillmans: 2017 at Tate Modern 15 February – 11 June
astro crusto, a 2012 © Wolfgang Tillmans. On show at Wolfgang Tillmans: 2017 at Tate Modern 15 February - 11 June
astro crusto, a 2012 © Wolfgang Tillmans. On show at Wolfgang Tillmans: 2017 at Tate Modern 15 February – 11 June
Juan Pablo & Karl, Chingaza 2012 © Wolfgang Tillmans. On show at Wolfgang Tillmans: 2017 at Tate Modern 15 February - 11 June
Juan Pablo & Karl, Chingaza 2012 © Wolfgang Tillmans. On show at Wolfgang Tillmans: 2017 at Tate Modern 15 February – 11 June
Collum 2011 © Wolfgang Tillmans. On show at Wolfgang Tillmans: 2017 at Tate Modern 15 February - 11 June
Collum 2011 © Wolfgang Tillmans. On show at Wolfgang Tillmans: 2017 at Tate Modern 15 February – 11 June
Iguazu 2010 © Wolfgang Tillmans. On show at Wolfgang Tillmans: 2017 at Tate Modern 15 February - 11 June
Iguazu 2010 © Wolfgang Tillmans. On show at Wolfgang Tillmans: 2017 at Tate Modern 15 February – 11 June
paper drop Prinzessinnenstrasse 2014 © Wolfgang Tillmans. On show at Wolfgang Tillmans: 2017 at Tate Modern 15 February - 11 June
paper drop Prinzessinnenstrasse 2014 © Wolfgang Tillmans. On show at Wolfgang Tillmans: 2017 at Tate Modern 15 February – 11 June
Diane Smyth

Diane Smyth is a freelance journalist who contributes to publications such as The Guardian, The Observer, The FT Weekend Magazine, Creative Review, The Calvert Journal, Aperture, FOAM, IMA, Aesthetica and Apollo Magazine. Prior to going freelance, she wrote and edited at BJP for 15 years. She has also curated exhibitions for institutions such as The Photographers Gallery and Lianzhou Foto Festival. You can follow her on instagram @dismy